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EA Patches Spore, Eases DRM

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the slowly-but-surely dept.

Games 161

EA has released the first patch for Spore, the purpose of which is to fix a number of bugs and tweak some gameplay settings to be more entertaining. Some of the visual effects were upgraded as well. They've also officially responded to the complaints about Spore's DRM, stating their intention to increase the number of allowed installations to five and to set up a system to "de-authorize" systems in order to reclaim the installation credit. They plan to allow multiple screen names per account, which was an issue for many families trying to play the game. This comes not long after EA made similar changes to the DRM of upcoming RTS Red Alert 3, and after Spore's DRM protest spread to in-game creature designs. Reader SoopahMan notes that users in EA's Spore tech support forum are reporting a number of new issues caused by the patch.

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frost piss (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082605)

over 9000 penises!!!!!

Re:frost piss (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082657)

I count 8999. But it's really hard to count things that small.

Re:frost piss (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082795)

over 9000 penises!!!!!

... have been in your mouth!!!!!

Re:frost piss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25083187)

and your mom!

How gracious of them (5, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082623)

I wonder if they actually believe this is going to change how people feel about the DRM, or if they just don't care and are trying to curb the Amazon comments?

Re:How gracious of them (5, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082659)

Easy. You make enough people happy that the protesters can be comfortably ignored. Deactivation isn't enough for me, but it's no longer renting the same way it was. Add in a promise to completely disable all drm if/when they shut down the servers and I think you could get most people onboard.

Not me, but enough of the mainline gamers for it to matter.

Re:How gracious of them (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083165)

Well,the limited activation BS equals no sale for me. When I buy something I want to actually BUY,and the limited activations make this an expensive rental. I still have games from the old DOS/Win9X era that I like to break out and play by companies long gone which I couldn't do if they had this crap. Which,of course along with killing the right of first sale is the point. To turn the whole business into an expensive rental so when a company gets bought out the buyer can simply kill the activation servers and get paid all over again for new keys.

And any promise to get rid of the DRM when they shut down the servers is just a lie. Today most of the companies get bought out,which means their promise is worthless unless it is written in the EULA,which I'm willing to bet it's not. So sorry EA,but this is one customer that won't be buying your product until the limited activations are gone,period. This is a game,NOT iTunes.

I would STRONGLY suggest everyone spread the word and keep as many folks from buying the game as possible,because in case you haven't heard other games are going to end up with this crap. The next one to have the limited Activation stench is Crysis:Warhead. So please spread the word and keep EA and the other major players from stealing your right of first sale!!! And as always this is one old gamers 02c,YMMV

Re:How gracious of them (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083205)

The only company I could believe shutting down the DRM when they die is Valve's Steam, and I'm still fairly skeptical of that.

Luckily I'm not a big fan of the crud being churned out by Big Content these days, and quite happy with independent publishers who dare to stray from clickity-click click FPS type games. Though I do enjoy a good run of Halo from time to time:-)

So yeah, I hoard my old Microprose DOS games, and some really old EA titles for the Commodore 64, and share them with others when I can.

Re:How gracious of you (-1, Flamebait)

Inominate (412637) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083977)

Those 1990 and 1980s games from EA are just as copyrighted now as they were then. You are publicly admitting to larceny and I hope you're nailed to the wall for it. Right to the fucking wall.

Re:How gracious of you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25084017)

Those 1990 and 1980s games from EA are just as copyrighted now as they were then. You are publicly admitting to larceny and I hope you're nailed to the wall for it. Right to the fucking wall.

Yes. They are copyrighted. So he can't claim that they were created by him or share them online freely. That's it.

If he bougth the actual games and the discs at the time, with none of this current "You buy just a license" stuff, his friends can borrow them from him and in many countries, arguably make copies of them.

In Finland, I would only be allowed to make copies for personal use and it is arguable if I can keep playing from a copy or not after borrowing the game to a friend. Technically I could, but I wouldn't want to test this in court lightmindedly.

So, just shut up.

Re:How gracious of you (4, Informative)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084079)

"You are publicly admitting to larceny and I hope you're nailed to the wall for it."

Copyright infringement, at best. I am getting tired of having to point this out to those who ether refuse to acknowledge the difference, or are simply too brainwashed to tell.

Re:How gracious of you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25084187)

You are right, particularly since the law consider copyright infringement a much bigger offense than theft.

Re:How gracious of you (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084589)

Not if he lends out the original disks long after he's uninstalled the games on his system. Then it's fair use, which for old games is likely the case. I've borrowed lots of old games in their original packaging after the first person to use them has long tired of them and deleted them to save space. That's usually the default way of things among gamer friends.

Re:How gracious of them (2, Interesting)

Drantin (569921) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085141)

The only company I could believe shutting down the DRM when they die is Valve's Steam, and I'm still fairly skeptical of that.

LGP [linuxgamepublishing.com] has stated that everyone in the company is authorized to release patches disabling DRM if the company goes under...

All LGP employees have the authority to produce, on their own, and without the order of the company, such patches, should the company be unable to produce them or to request their production, on the event that LGP ceases trading.

Re:How gracious of them (2, Funny)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084763)

The next one to have the limited Activation stench is Crysis:Warhead.

I wouldn't worry, since no one is going to be able to run the game anyway.

Re:How gracious of them (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083445)

Add in a promise to completely disable all drm if/when they shut down the servers and I think you could get most people onboard.

Maybe, but EA's rep is shot with me. The last two games I've bought with their name on them crash often enough to make them unwinnable and what's the point in playing a game like that? I already have a family subscription to World of Warcraft ...

EA - you suck! Or you just have no clue how to program a PSP, or maybe both. At least Blizzard doesn't kill me and make me restart every time I reach a new level after doing something hard.

Basic psychology (1)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085527)

I studied psychology (yeah, go figure) and one thing I liked to learn was how to control people.

One thing you can do is ask or impose something completely insane and then settle for something less. Everyone will be happy.

On the other hand, this "something else" would have been rejected without a second thought if it had been proposed first.

So, this patch will most likely make people accept the DRM more easily.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door-in-the-face_technique

Re:How gracious of them (1)

Flentil (765056) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085031)

The patch was released Thursday. It's a 91mb file and takes about 90 minutes to install, three times longer than the full game. Most people think their PC is frozen during the patch because most of that time all you see is a progress bar at 0%. Once installed, it causes all sorts of graphical and sound glitches, including a majority of invisible opponents, and also introduces random crashes into the game. The patch also fails to address one of the biggest crash issues that have many people stuck on their home world, unable to leave orbit without the game crashing. So in other words, the patch was an Epic Fail.

oh boy (3, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082625)

Some would even say that the game is responsing to outside stimuli and changing for the better in a way that could be called evolving. Or you could just EA pulled their heads out of their asses lol.

Re:oh boy (1)

MiharuSenaKanaka (1080135) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082911)

Or you could just EA pulled their heads out of their asses lol.

Doubtful; I think they've had their heads super-glued up there for years now...

Re:oh boy (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083467)

Or you could just EA pulled their heads out of their asses lol.

Impossible to believe based on what they sell. I used to think the crap Konami sells in the domestic Japanese sports market was the lowest of the low, but thankfully, Tiger Woods 2008 for the PSP has proved me wrong. And how they can find a way for a Sims game to crash, like The Castaways is beyond me.

Way to go EA! Whatever it is your QA guys are smoking, please send some my way in lieu of a refund. Thanks!

Re:oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25084247)

I doubt EA have their heads in their asses and they know the market very well. I'm pretty sure the increased activation limit and the de-authorize system were planned BEFORE the uproar.

Re:oh boy (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084513)

Not likely. It doesn't benefit EA's public relations to raise the install limit by a measly two installs. Essentially, those outraged by a three-install limit are going to be outraged even at a million-install limit. Even though that's feasibly improbable, it's still a limit being imposed on something that should be limitless.

Mexican Invasion (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082627)

You say you need someone who speaks Spanish? Well there's lots of them in Mexico, why not GO THE FUCK BACK TO MEXICO and quit clogging up our schools and emergency rooms. LOTS of people there speak Spanish!!

Are they really that naive? (4, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082639)

We're willing to evolve our policy to accommodate our consumers. But we're hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games and as well as to the rights of people who create them. Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles.

Not only does this sound hilarious ("essential to the economic structure...") but not once in the history of software piracy, as far as I know, has DRM -ever- stopped piracy.

I have to wonder if the CEOs and the decision-makers are out-of-touch and naive. Who do they think is actually going to believe this shit? Do they? Frankly, I don't think any actual malice is going on, just complete stupidity by non-techies easily wowed by the DRM snake oil.

People like to go "ugh EA is fucking us!" and also complain "But the DRM actually hurts sales!" (probably true) and yet they STILL bang their head against the wall. If DRM worked, then the EA fucking us thing might be true. But given how worthless DRM is and how hackers break it the day it comes out (and often, before, as was partly the case with Spore) I frankly have to wonder if someone is simply just out of touch.

Actually, I have a better idea. DRM is being used not because it works, but because someone (or some group, the people responsible for fighting piracy or such?) in the corporate structure ants the people up top to think they're doing their (impossible, and they likely know it) job so they don't get sacked. DRM stinks of a product of bureaucracy.

Re:Are they really that naive? (5, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082681)

To stop piracy they crack down on BT through various means. The purpose of this DRM is to destroy resale value and make people need expensive reactivations/buy new copies if anything goes wrong/so they can shut down the servers and switch to a new model any time they want.

This is similar to how child porn is used to justify measures that do nothing to prevent the people who make it, but seem to have an awful lot to do with curtailing protest against the gvmt.

Re:Are they really that naive? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082787)

Your first paragraph sure nails this thing. That is precisely what DRM is about. Not pirating software but to make it harder to resell games. Games companies have already mentioned that places like Gamestop that sell used games hurt the developers.

Sony and Microsoft are combating it in a similar way with the PS3 and XBOX360. They are trying to push for more games being sold through PSN or XBox Live. Your reselling of games at that point is pretty much toast. What they don't seem to realize is that in the long run this hurts them too because by not being able to trade in the online purchased games they users are not able to afford purchasing as many new games.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082979)

Actually, I've heard that point before and forgot to consider it. Yeah, the whole "EA is fucking us!" thing might be true then.

But now I wonder, if DRM hurts sales all-around, then it even prevent the initial sales that may have ended up a reseller like GameSis still stronger, and EA should know this. So maybe my "appeal to the pointy-haired boss" is still stronger--or another version of it that I forgot to mention, "make the shareholders think we're trying to maximize sales," which may be an even better hypothesis.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083507)

Yeah, the whole "EA is fucking us!" thing might be true then.

They produce half-assed games that either suck if they don't crash, or suck because they do crash. A couple of their Sims titles on GBA were not too bad though.

I'm really, really pissed at their stuff on PSP though. Computers and electronics should *never* crash, ever, and games that crash deserve their own ring in hell.

For EA, fucking customers is a way of life.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084419)

Add Nintendo to that list as well. They have virtual console which is pushing download sales hard.

Re:Are they really that naive? (2, Informative)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084533)

And it was promptly usurped by the HBC and WadManager (and Wii ports of FCE Ultra, Snes9x, etc). I'm not sure about the 360, but there's a similar case with the PS3 as well. Just because downloads are being pushed doesn't mean they're selling. Obviously they are, but the point is one doesn't necessarily equal the other. Just a thought.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085445)

It was promptly what by the what and the what now?

Re:Are they really that naive? (4, Insightful)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082771)

Not only does this sound hilarious ("essential to the economic structure...") but not once in the history of software piracy, as far as I know, has DRM -ever- stopped piracy.

(1) The goal isn't to completely stop all piracy of the product, just curb it. Some people would prefer to just buy the game rather than waiting for a crack or having to hassle with it. While it varries, this is the case sufficiently for companies to consider it worth the downsides. Of course this isn't the case when the DRM more trouble than just waiting a bit more for a clean crack, or if the crack is out before the game actually launches (as happened with Spore).
(2) BD+ is still pretty locked down.

Re:Are they really that naive? (0)

powerspike (729889) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082807)

absolutey, drm help stop the pirates...
1) Release extremely buggy game with restrictive drm
2) Release 2 patches a week for 3 months (normanly the ???? step)
3) pirates buy game because their sick of not been able to play the game due to waiting 4 days for patches every 3 days.
4) Profit!

Re:Are they really that naive? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25083213)

you seem to have missed a few steps, let me help...

-1) game gets pre-cracked and pre-released by pirates days before it goes retail
0) people download and play game, and see how unfullfilling, widdled down the game really is after all the hype
1) Release extremely buggy game with restrictive drm
2) Release 2 patches a week for 3 months
2.5) ???? (the question marks are actually people scratching there heads in confusion as to wtf you are doing)
3) people already know the gameplay immensely flawed, and it's going to take more than a few quick patches to fix everything that is lacking and failing in this game.
4) repeat failures with numerous expansion packs and sequels
5) still profit because your ea games and have a monopoly on everything that is sim

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083495)

0) people download and play game, and see how unfullfilling, widdled down the game really is after all the hype

Seriously, Spore is one of the two most over-hyped games of this year. The only other game as over-hyped is Age of Conan (boy did that one fall flat on its face!)

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084551)

0) people download and play game, and see how unfullfilling, widdled down the game really is after all the hype

+

Seriously, Spore is one of the two most over-hyped games of this year.

+
DRM
=
Opposite effect. [torrentfreak.com]

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082971)

I already considered your point and I thought the implications of my post addressed that. When has DRM even -curbed- piracy? Again, Spore's DRM was cracked before the game was even released in America (iirc it was released early in Australia or something for some reason, maybe accident?). The DRM gets cracked pretty much the same day, and the cracked versions are easier to deal with, to boot. So how, exactly, is piracy being curbed in any way, shape, or form? Nobody "waits" on the crack, except usually maybe for updates to a no-cd hack before they install the latest patch.

You say that it isn't the case when the DRM is more trouble than just waiting for a clean crack, but given that already the cracks pretty much come out the day of release, if not before, and that DRM inherently makes the game more trouble than the piracy itself, I'm not sure that it EVER curbs piracy. Maybe a friend lending his game to someone? But those days when people were so naive are long passed; everyone knows about filesharing today.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

Shrubbman (3807) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082981)

(2) BD+ is still pretty locked down.

No, the folks over at Slysoft seem to have broken that too.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083245)

And it would be a lot more broken if folks actually used it. Not trying to flame,but for 99.999% of the public DVD is just fine. There are millions of players out there,they are dirt cheap,and most of your average users can't really tell the difference between BD and an upscaled DVD anyway.

And as other posters have pointed out but I think bears repeating so folks don't lose sight of the big picture,this is NOT about piracy. I repeat: This has NOTHING to do with piracy,and they are simply using piracy as an excuse. They are really trying to take away YOUR right to first sale [destructoid.com] because like greedy little hogs they think making money once per sale isn't enough. They want to get paid OVER and OVER and OVER again for the same game,nothing less.

That is why I urge everyone to avoid EA games like the clap until they reverse their position on the limited activations COMPLETELY. Otherwise the other big game companies will go "Why should EA get to triple profit and we don't? Lets limit our games too!" and we'll all be boned.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083481)

But again, if DRM results in less sales anyway, why would they be doing this?

Your explanation is simply adding another layer of complexity. Okay, so DRM doesn't work for and isn't meant to reduce piracy... so, it's to prevent reselling? That still just means people are going to pirate it, especially moreso with the restrictive DRM. It's a possible explanation but not one that really explains why they continue to release DRM that presumably (and I am assuming it for the sake of argument) results in even less sales.

People often try to find insidious reasons behind actions and often can make a plausible connection between two things, but that is not necessarily what the motivation is or was--it may just be a functional coincidence. Obviously the publisher doesn't like reselling, but DRM would never be the answer to that as it, as we all believe, reduces all sales. Less sales means less reselling.

And...uh, can you blame them for not wanting reselling? I'm not saying that, if they are locking people out, that that justifies that kind of DRM, merely that you can't blame a company for wanting people to buy a new product instead of reselling. EA is perfectly within its right ethically and legally, to try to move towards a more online approach to offering additional content, etc; this is partly the reason MMOs seem so attractive to companies. The consumer/customer eventually decides if it's a good deal or not. Customers are loudly proclaiming that it's not a good deal with the DRM. This reaction by EA is a good first step; let's show them it's not enough.

Oh, and I don't like this us vs. them mentality people have towards business. Businesses give us things, but they need us to survive. You can whine all day about game companies wanting to maximize their profits (you try to maximize your benefit too, do you not...?) but the only reason you have a lot of these games is because of the very company or industry you're complaining about.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083703)

"It's marketing stupid...."

That is the mantra at every company that sells DRM to these PHBs. "It will protect your valuable precious IP (TM,C,Patent Pending)". Although DRM doesn't prevent piracy, it does keep the honest from reselling the crap on the net. The thing is, pirated copies of games can be removed from sale sites with the added bonus of getting the user banned from said site. So while pirated copies can be had, the resold/rented market dries up. Do you think a place like GameStop is going to put pirated copies on their shelves? Although the GP is bitching about the right of first sale, it really is the rental market that activation DRM is targeted for.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082859)

You know that a suitspeak explaination is going to be condescending and unhelpful when you see the phrase "our consumers".

FFS, if somebody buys your product, they are a "customer".

Re:Are they really that naive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082945)

You consume a service. They aren't selling you a product (thus the DRM and attempt to stop resale), but a service (they permit you to play the game as long as they wish to run the registration servers. Could be next week that they shut them down. You read the EULA about that?)

Re:Are they really that naive? (2, Insightful)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082879)

Actually DRM is working.

I don't buy, or download the game.

So, even tho they are losing a sale, they aren't being hurt by me pirating.

Now, if I could just put the game on the hard drive of my non internet pc and play, I'd buy the game - but even I know that's just silly talk.

YAY DRM!

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085423)

the crack that is floating around (arrrr!) will let you run spore on your non-internet pc. bonus irony points if you do it with a retail copy.

Nah, they actually believe it (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083067)

I have to wonder if the CEOs and the decision-makers are out-of-touch and naive. Who do they think is actually going to believe this shit? Do they?

Actually, from the very limited sample I've seen (two people, for two different products, to be exact) they actually do believe that it'll help. That somehow _this_ time, surely people won't find a crack for their hare-brained protection scheme, at least until the first weeks have passed and the sales went past their peak.

Frankly, I don't think any actual malice is going on, just complete stupidity by non-techies easily wowed by the DRM snake oil.

Both people I'm talking about were techies. One was a _brilliant_ programmer, in fact.

Actually, I have a better idea. DRM is being used not because it works, but because someone (or some group, the people responsible for fighting piracy or such?) in the corporate structure ants the people up top to think they're doing their (impossible, and they likely know it) job so they don't get sacked. DRM stinks of a product of bureaucracy.

In both cases it didn't come as a requirement from the publisher. Well, I suppose it probably would have, sooner or later, but it didn't even have to come to that. People a heck of a lot lower down that food chain were already convinced that (A) they need some copy protection or people will steal their preciouss... err... I mean their work, and (B) that this time theirs will work. Even if you point out that every game before had been cracked before it even hit the shelves, they'll retreat into faith that surely people will be too stupid to find that crack.

(Especially us nerds are good at building stupid arguments based on "everyone else is stupid.";)

I guess the moral is: don't underestimate the power of wishful thinking. Faith may not really be able to move mountains, but it sure can make one run head first into a mountain, believing right until the impact that it'll yet move out of the way for him.

I guess it's just a subset of a more general observation I've made some time ago: the easiest way to get someone to do stupid stuff, to get even an otherwise intelligent and logical person to warp their logic into wishful thinking, is greed. You can see it in this, pyramid scams, advance-fee (a.k.a., Nigerian 419) scams, stock tip spam, both recent bubbles, or the occasional idiot gambling himself into debt. At some point the temptation is so big that the brain kinda shuts down. Well, ok, maybe not "shuts down", but goes into a failure mode where all logic is warped and it starts using fallacies and lies on itself. The carrot on a stick of "man, if I were that lucky..." is perverted into "yes, I _know_ I am that lucky, and here's the string of fallacies and bullshit that 'proves' it."

Especially when one has already invested a lot of personal money, and stands to lose them if things don't go as planned -- be it having already paid the first advance fee in a 419 scam, having already bought the started kit in a pyramid scheme, or merely having taken a loan to start that small games studio -- it's a depressing thought that you could lose it all for nothing. At some point you start lying to your own damned self just to allay your fears. Yes, you know you'll be that lucky, this time the hare-brained scheme will work, even if the universe has to bend its rules for you. Or even if half the world has to be hit by an access of stupidity and forget how to google for a crack. You know it'll happen for you.

Of course, that's just armchair-shrink conjecture, but it's the best I've come up with, to explain the real observation that otherwise intelligent and logical people can become utterly stupid and illogical about such a topic. They can do advanced maths just for fun, they can calculate advanced probabilities and exponents in their head, but they seem to genuinely believe that they can join a pyramid scam in some point where they still win big and everyone else loses. Something doesn't add up.

Re:Are they really that naive? (3, Insightful)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083261)

I wonder what they have to say about the fact that the game was already cracked before the release date, and more than half a million people pirated it in the first week alone? How do they still justify that it prevents piracy?

In many cases the crack lets you get the game running faster than trying to mess around with driver and firmware upgrades to get the DRM functioning.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084341)

But we're hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games

I don't have to understand or accept anything at all. If I'm out to buy a game, I set the criteria for what is worth buying, not you (you = EA, or any other publisher, in this reply). Having no activation scheme is such a criteria, and no complaining that you need it will make me change my mind. If you stick with any activation scheme, my money will remain in my wallet, and you can keep your game to yourself.

If everybody did this, your so-called "economic structure" would break down completely, despite (or rather because) of you keeping your silly DRM.

Re:Are they really that naive? (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085045)

DRM on pc games has very little to do with stopping piracy, they're not THAT stupid. It's easy enough to make casual 'here mate, have a copy of this' rare without the huge level of measures affecting users. If anything, these measure are indeed pushing people to work out how to find torrents and CD cracks.

No, it's about locking in legitimate customers, and killing the doctrine of first sale. Copyright infringers are not buyers, and likely never would have been. However, someone that buys a USED copy from a gamestore or ebay is a demonstrable purchaser, though possibly one waiting for a reduced price.

Limited activations with proof of purchase required to get extra activations pretty much kills the second hand market stone dead. And those buyers who would have bought from ebay end up buying it new, or waiting for the discount re-release. Either way, the publisher gets the money, and people end up stuck with shelves-full of old games they're bored with but can't sell.

Console gamers shouldn't be too smug neither. PC games only had is-this-a-real-disc-DRM for a long time, then moved to the limited total online activations, tied to one account. Wii virtual console? games are tied to one console. XBox360 arcade? Tied to one console and one account.

Want to bet the next version of the XBox ties individual game discs to a particular live account upon first use? Maybe you get to use it with 3 live accounts, then bing, you need to buy a new disc.

DRM is working very well indeed. It's just a different purpose than they claim it's for.

Too little, Too late. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082641)

They could have acted sooner. alot sooner. now it's too late. they put me off, and I wont be swayed with this pathetic "fix"

To borrow a phrase... (5, Insightful)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082647)

From Benjamin "Yahtzee" Croshaw of "Zero Punctuation" fame:

"They could not have missed the point further if they had fired in a completely different direction and the point was in another country altogether."

The point is, EA, I WILL NOT be treated like a criminal. 5 activations is more than 3, yes, but it's still less than infinity, the number I should have. The number every other game (BioShock and Mass Effect aside) gives me. And I will not buy a single-player game that you can turn off at any time for any or no reason. Period. So back off the insane DRM or you will never get another penny out of me ever again. And I doubt I'm alone in that sentiment.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082679)

Dont forget all Steam games. There's a lot. Or are we giving that a double-standard just because "it works?"

Re:To borrow a phrase... (3, Insightful)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082707)

Seeing as all of my Steam games are installed on all of my computers at once all the time, and have been reinstalled countless time without ever jumping through any special hoops to "refund activations," I'd say it's not much of a comparison. And while Steam is pretty restrictive DRM, it comes with upsides - I can install any game I own at any time on any computer without needing the disc. I can even play against other people on my account at LANs. Spore's DRM, however, doesn't offer any upsides. It's all restrictions, and only on the legit users. I'm pretty sure that despite the online activation and phone home nonsense, you even still need the cocking disc in the drive to play!

Re:To borrow a phrase... (2, Insightful)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082793)

I bought Spore. The DRM is irritating. But you don't need the cocking disc in the drive to play.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (5, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083711)

I'm on death row. The death is irritating, but at least they're not using the electric chair.

Somewhere along the line, you've missed the point; This DRM cripples your rights to resell a game (if it stinks, you can sell it on and recoup some of your losses, if it's not one you want to hold on to and play again and again, you can resell it). It cripples your ability to do anything with it that you'd normally expect to do with something you buy (you can lend a book to your mate; CD in the drive protection allows you to do this with a game, DRM doesn't).
There is a whole historic section of law that guarantees the purchasor's rights to do what they want with items they have bought. Software companies, and DRM in particular have been trying VERY hard these last few years to work their way around the law, so that technically, you do still have the right to sell on the game (you can put the install DVD on Ebay or whatever), but it will be useless to the person who purchases it, making your legal rights useless.
In other words, yes, these companies are effectively stealing from you (yes, exactly what they're saying pirates do to them).
They are deliberately killing the resale market, ensuring you have no ability to recoup any of the money you spent on the item (or donating it to charity in the way of charity bookshops etc.), in any way the law says you should be able to do with such an item (as it was fair to be able to do such a thing).
Yes, I know the first sale doctrine is confused because the software companies say that software is 'licensed'. The day they turn round and say that they'll replace all media once it's broken, and allow perpetual updates, and not tie it to any particular machine, and vastly reduce the cost, then I may think twice (actually, I use Steam, as it lets me do most of that).
As it stands, the companies are way too greedy and grasping, feeling quite at home screwing over their customers in the attempt to create larger sales. The sooner this ends, and a 'fair' market resumes (in the same way it happened with books and such) the better.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082847)

I'm usually against all activations and restrictions, but I actually love steam.
I have bought games, played them, stopped playing them, lost the packaging, reinstalled machine and eventually repurchased the game.
With steam, I don't even have to thik where my installation media is when I total my hard disk.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082995)

And before someone says that "but what if Steam goes down?", Valve has claimed that in the event that they close up shop they will release a patch activating the games without needing to be online.

Frankly, I think Steam is the case where they do things right, because it provides both a service with the DRM--the service to download and play your games on any computer, tied to an account.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25084801)

> Valve has claimed that in the event that they close up shop they will release a patch activating the games without needing to be online.

Because that is so often said I will have to put my opinion at least once:
Unless they have such patches already ready and tested and stored with some escrow company such a claim is worthless.
If they go bankrupt (and don't tell me they won't, with the recent events you should know that you can't know that) nobody is going to publish any patch.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082813)

Assuming you have access to a fast, cheap (ideally unmetered) internet connection, Steam is actually pretty good. It strikes a decent balance between the restrictions and benefits, particularly on Valve's games. While it's more restrictive than no DRM, or the kind of copy protection measures in use several years ago, it's a good deal less restrictive than most modern DRM measures.

With Steam, I can install as many copies I want, on as many machines I want. I need an internet connection to activate the game, but not after that. I can only use the account on one computer if I'm in online mode, which is fair enough. In offline mode, I can run as many copies as I want, and even play multiplayer between them. This is all stuff that I've been able to do for years with other games, and I expect to be able to do now. I also gain access to my games from any location, I don't need CD keys, I don't need to lug CDs around with me, and I can simply buy a game online and download it immediately.

In effect, the copy protection is completely transparent. I can use the game I bought almost as freely as I could use a game with no copy protection. Not quite, but almost.

Competing DRM schemes do not offer any of this, and they get in my way.

The main restriction with Steam is that it's not possible to re-sell the games. While I understand why they do this, I don't agree with it at all. This restriction is shared with all other current DRM measures.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (1)

Inominate (412637) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084029)

Steam is pretty great. Like you said, the only problem is the inability to resell games. The copy protection is hidden, the company behind it has a decent history that means one can reasonably expect steam stuff to be made free when they fold. Most importantly, they make is almost as easy to buy a game as it is to pirate the game. That last point is the most important one. A lot of people are willing to buy games, most of those same people are willing to pirate them. In general piracy is FAR less complicated, more reliable, and flat out easier. Steam makes it simple, and makes sure you have the game, whether or not you have the original media. Steam combines most of the advantages of piracy, with many of the advantages of buying the game. The only way to improve it is meta-server based multiplayer.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084597)

Personally, I *DON'T* give Steam a pass, not at all. That was the final straw that knocked me out of PC gaming for good.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (3, Informative)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082697)

They say "let us manage your rights, you can trust us." I say "let me manage my rights, you can trust me."

The difference is, I've never helped someone pirate a game I bought, and I don't buy games with DRM (aside from dumb shit like cd keys/anything that is replay vulnerable)

They screw over honest players time and time again.

Until the free (pirated) version is harder to make work than the expensive broken version, I'm not buying.

Or rather I'm buying from competitors and skipping Spore because it is, as noted below, a shallow, tedious clickfest.

I hate half baked games nerfed to appeal to the IQ of 60

Re:To borrow a phrase... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25083011)

I hate half baked games nerfed to appeal to the IQ of 60

You misspelled 'fun games'. Call me shallow, stupid, or any other derogatory term your elitist ass can come up with, but the I'm still having more fun than you. Don't get technical on me, we're talking ceteris paribus here.

Re:To borrow a phrase... (1)

karmatic (776420) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083305)

but it's still less than infinity, the number I should have. The number every other game (BioShock and Mass Effect aside) gives me.

That's not entirely accurate... [2kgames.com]

Re:To borrow a phrase... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25083863)

i would'nt buy a movie i could only watch 5 times !

Still a shallow, tedious clickfest (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082649)

So the DRM is gone, hooray, the nerds can rejoice and celebrate!

Now if only they could patch in some decent gameplay. It seems like Maxis spent 4 years making some spiffy editors, but only 4 months on the actual gameplay.

Re:Still a shallow, tedious clickfest (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082665)

So the DRM is gone

Read the summary again. Or at least the full title.

Re:Still a shallow, tedious clickfest (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25082733)

So the DRM is gone

Read the summary again. Or at least the full title.

Hey it WAS "ERASES DRM" but they eased the the "R"!

I fixed it a week ago already (4, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082717)

and it works great. no issues with drm at all.

Re:I fixed it a week ago already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25083379)

and it works great. no issues with drm at all.

I installed it straight. And it works great. No issues with DRM at all.

Seriously. You might not like the DRM, but unless you went looking for it (or hit the 5-activation limit, or had ISO loaders or whatever, or were that minority where SecuROM genuinely fucks you up), it would probably be invisible. They do a damn good job hiding it.

Re:I fixed it a week ago already (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083901)

Which is kinda the point. It's fine until it goes wrong.

Who chose this title? (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082751)

I read that as "EA Patches Spore, Erases DRM"

Re:Who chose this title? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#25082903)

Actually it's only now I read your comment that I realised I misread the title.

No Mac Patch... (1)

Jack Conrad (898450) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083025)

Sadly, the patch is PC only... I had such high hopes with the retail release being a Mac/PC simultaneous release.

Re:No Mac Patch... (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083449)

I suppose that both of you will need to dual boot.

LK

Meh (5, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083101)

I'm honestly not entirely sure what I've been let down by. Perhaps it's something to do with the DRM or maybe it's just a random bug in the game. Whatever it is, I haven't been able to actually play the game for over a week now. I've Google searched the problem endlessly, but haven't been able to come up with a solution and I've even resulted to dealing with EA support (albeit comically*) to try and figure out what's wrong.

I purchased the game the day it came out, installed it without a hitch and had a generally okay time playing the game. It wasn't everything I had dreamed it would be, but I found it fairly entertaining in its own right. For whatever reason, on the third day the game stopped working. I hadn't updated my system, changed any settings, or done anything that should suddenly stop the game from working; but for whatever reason, it just stopped working.

I've pretty much stopped caring and even if I were to get it working again I'm not entirely sure how much more I would play the game after having to deal with as much crap as I have. I looked over the patch notes and it seems as though there might be a potential fix, but of course I'm running the Mac version of the game so who knows when they'll actually patch that. After dealing with EA, it hasn't even been the DRM that's turned me off so much as the customer support in general. I've finally become a casualty to this monster that people have been decrying for so long. I guess I'll take my number and join the group.

* In case you were wonder I've been undergoing support through EA's online support system. This entails me submitting my problem and them getting back to me sometime within the next three days with generally unhelpful advice. The last piece of advice I got was from a guy (every time someone has got back to me, it's been a different person) who instructed me to follow steps which started with "Go to Start -> Run ..." despite the fact that I'm on a mac. I got a pretty good laugh out of it, but at this point I really have to question how much EA has their shit together. From my end the answer seems to be, "Not very."

Re:Meh (2, Interesting)

Ruud Althuizen (835426) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083347)

I looked over the patch notes and it seems as though there might be a potential fix, but of course I'm running the Mac version of the game so who knows when they'll actually patch that.

It just uses a Windows binary within a 'compatibility layer' from Transgaming (known for Cedega). So you don't have to wait for a Mac-specific patch.

Re:Meh (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084601)

The windows patch may not necessarily work on the mac if the mac version of Spore is like the mac version of C&C3 and contains programmable pixel and vertex shaders that are customized for the mac version.

Installation limits (1)

pianosaurus (1347409) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083119)

According to several blogs out there, the actual installation limit has been five a long time now. At least one guy called support to get more installations after three installs, and was told the limit was five and that he had two left (and that they would update their site to reflect that). I'm not going to dig out links, 'cause I'm lazy.

Re:Installation limits (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083209)

What ever happened to The First Sale Doctrine? You have a right to resell that game when you've finished playing it.

They're just trying to kill the second hand market.

Re:Installation limits (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083477)

A lot of people have come up with this theory. It certainly fits the facts, but is the second hand market really that big a problem?

Re:Installation limits (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083999)

If you're a believer in free-market economics, markets are NEVER a problem. The problem is people who think there's a problem with markets.

Re:Installation limits (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084177)

Gamespot makes far more money off second-hand games than by actually selling new games. Go in sometime - they _really_ want you to buy the game used (for about $10 less than retail), and then sell it back to them afterwards for $10 or so. So for a $60 game, they're making $40 each time it's sold. Which is highway robbery, but still a choice you can make. I understand that EA/Take2/etc want to get their proper due with each copy. But it's mine - I bought it, I can do with it what I want. Is it okay to hate both groups, EA for being EA and Gamestop for being greedy bastards who don't give a rat's ass about games, they just want the money that someone _useful_ (like, say, the developers) should get instead?

Re:Installation limits (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084273)

Didn't realise just how much profit they made on second hand games (never having sold one and if I did I'd use eBay).

Still, there's supply and demand here. Presumably you have no stats as to how many times games are resold on average.

Honestly, I don't fault Gamespot for doing this. Games are expensive, and they're serving an apparent market niche here. I think people are insane for paying so much and selling for so little but they have the choice.

The developers themselves tend not to receive royalties anyway (the studio does but it tends not to trickle down to the actual coders, artists and designers), so I'm not really too fussed.

Re:Installation limits (2, Informative)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084619)

There's one flaw with your argument.

They don't sell used PC games, only used console games.

Re:Installation limits (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085175)

EA isn't going to sell games forever. Eventually they stop publishing because it ceases to be profitable.

Go into a store and see if you can find a copy of SimCity 2000. Now look on eBay. As long as product activation continues to be a trend, you will not see today's games on resale markets 10 years from now, no matter how good they are. The only sellers will be those that try to scam the buyer into buying a game they cannot use.

Re:Installation limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25083801)

What ever happened to The First Sale Doctrine? You have a right to resell that game when you've finished playing it.

They're just trying to kill the second hand market.

How in any way does this prevent you from selling the game after you finished playing? Sure, it can't be used by your buyer. But your "right to resell" is still intact.

Official Response (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25083271)

It would be nice if we could get an official response about the fact that the game isn't that fun.

It's got no replayability and the space stage is just tedious. I've already moved on to other games.

People are complaining but (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083365)

I seriously don't think the DRM has hurt Spore's sales. There are too many people out there who are in the "I have to have this game" mindset. The proof of this is all of the bittorrent people who don't have the self control to hold off on buying the game even if the DRM bugs them.

The time when DRM will truely negatively start effecting sales is when the game loses it's hype. I think the negative press right now is actually the kind that will make the hype last longer. You know, the harder something is to get, the more people want it?

Just my thoughts. Don't know how off or on I am.

Re:People are complaining but (1)

Venerable Vegetable (1003177) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084115)

It probably didn't hurt because they don't care about insignificant little me, but their sales went down by at least one copy. I was going to buy Spore, but now I am not. It's as simple as it gets.

Nope. Still going to pirate it (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083381)

That gives me infinite installations!

For god's sake! I could see a limit to the number of installs in a certain time making some sort of sense, but they've still removed any resale value.

Re:Nope. Still going to pirate it (1, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085253)

Nope. Still going to pirate it

What gives you the right to pirate this game?

You don't own any legitimate copy, you're not a customer, you have no right to play a game just because you want to play it.

Re:Nope. Still going to pirate it (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085279)

What gives you the right to pirate this game?

Who cares? I have the ability to pirate it, so I will. I'm not willing to pay for it unless I can be sure I can still play it in 5 years time.

Re:Nope. Still going to pirate it (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085357)

I'm not willing to pay for it unless I can be sure I can still play it in 5 years time.

It is obviously ensured that you can with the cracks floating around. However, I don't believe you didn't realize this.

Oooooh, 5! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25083619)

Big flipping deal. And if I go over five? Or 100? Or I decide I've had enough of it and want to sell the game? I know what type of "patch" I'll be looking for if I ever decide to buy the game.

Unfortunate (2, Interesting)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 6 years ago | (#25083941)

Unfortunately I was looking forward to trying this game, especially since it was available for OS X, and of course the interesting hype and all. And while I don't think they are going to notice that I don't purchase it, the limit on installations just seems beyond silly. I will accept some DRM if it makes them feel better but doesn't limit me beyond keeping a CD in the drive or perhaps a serial number around. But just as other people here have said, I can't tell you how many times I've installed Starcraft or Warcraft or Quake.. You get the point. Unfortunately, working in the computer consulting industry, I have very much seen this type of attitude from managers/owners/PHBs where they are really too far removed to know how bad it is or they get sucked in by some 3rd party explaining how great (in this case) DRM will be for sales and helping combat piracy.

Though this has already been hinted at... (3, Insightful)

Etrai (1014023) | more than 6 years ago | (#25084039)

...no one has said it outright: DRM (and plain old copy protection if you care for the distinciton) only punishes those who care to buy the software. While this might not have been the intent this is the reality of the matter.
Stardock saw it, why can't EA (et al.)?

Overwhelming Gall (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25084147)

From Frank Gibeau's open letter:

... we're hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games and as well as to the rights of people who create them. Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles.

I can't believe the gall of EA to speak about the PC game industry like this. Here is the largest third-party game publisher in the world (unless Ubi Soft has them now), holding exclusivity contracts with multiple major sports franchises so their yearly Madden installments have no competition - who routinely releases malfunctioning games to the end consumer - who has been called out for overworking and underpaying its employees - who would rather charge you a buck to unlock a cheat code, or put ads in your game, than respect you as a customer - and this guy has the nerve to speak about what is good for the industry?

No, EA. Not buying it. Not buying your game, not buying your bullshit. Cry me a fuckin' river about software piracy -- no way I'm feeling sorry for you being hoisted by your own SecuROM petard.

Still puts a damper on second hand sales (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 6 years ago | (#25085055)

Even when they release the promised deactivation tool, how would you know the seller followed the proper procedures to deactivate it if you were to buy it used?
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